Michigan Football Spring Preview: Wide Receiver

In The University’s history, Michigan has 22 wide receivers that have had 10 or more TD’s in their career. Of those, only two, Desmond Howard and Steve Breaston, have scored twice through the air and on the ground in the same season. That was until 2015, when we saw an offensive weapon emerge in Jehu Chesson. The All-Big Ten 1st team wide receiver had a breakout year, and is on pace to becoming one of the greats if he has a healthy 2016 campaign.

Jehu entered the 2015 season without an extravagant on-field resume, but he took the season in stride, improving his blocking and chemistry with quarterback Jake Rudock. The 6-3 Chesson finished 2015 with 50 catches, 764 yards receiving, and 12 total touchdowns. Jehu will be an Impact player in the #1 receiver slot, and one of the front runners for team captain in 2016.

While Chesson sat out of spring practice nursing a leg injury, we saw his counterpart, Amara Darboh, blossom down in Bradenton, FL. The Senior wideout was the standout of the bunch with no close second. When Darboh stuck his routes, no one could cover him. In his career at Michigan he has totaled over 100 catches for roughly 1,200 yards, and will be the perfect compliment as the #2 receiver this year.

Looking at the sophomore group, there is a lot of promising potential that will battle for playing time come fall camp. Although Grant Perry is only 5-11, 180 lbs, he bears every trait needed to exceed as a possession receiver. He isn’t overly fast or explosive, but he is a great blocker with strong hands. We really saw his routes improve this spring, and expect him to get the most playing time at WR #3 this year. In spring practice, we saw Maurice Ways excel on the first day of practice in 7 on 7’s, but he seemed to disappear in Friday’s padded practice, not being able to create separation. At 6-4, Drake Harris has all of the tools to be a great downfield WR, but with his history of injuries, we haven’t seen him flourish. He sat out the first day of camp with the flu, and didn’t show us anything to believe he will surpass anyone on the depth chart.

Freshman Ahmir Mitchell had a satisfactory week of camp and shows great potential. The 6-3 New Jersey product is very athletic and was able to get behind the defense a number of times. He struggled catching the ball, but he has only been on campus for a couple of months. It will be interesting to see how the incoming freshmen compete this fall  (Dylan Crawford, Chris Evans, Brad Hawkins Jr, Nate Johnson, Eddie McDoom).